At Mountain Sun, children are encouraged to be children and to actively and freely explore the natural world. Each day, students have the opportunity to get out into the forests and streams on our campus at Brevard Music Center [link]. On field trips and expeditions, children go deeper into the Bracken Preserve, Pisgah National Forest, Dupont State Forest, and beyond. We believe connection to the natural world cultivates learning from within, fosters whole child development, and reinforces care for self and others. This connection is facilitated by practicing environmental responsibility in all aspects of school life, creating hands-on learning opportunities within the natural world, and providing ample unstructured physical exercise and exploration in the outdoors.
The mountains and forests of Western North Carolina serve as an important area of learning for our children and our families. For our youngest students, the unstructured play of daily outdoor time on our campus turns into a grand adventure. As children get older, they go out on a variety of expeditions. Lower Elementary students begin with family camping trips, and Upper Elementary and Middle School students go on multi-day backpacking and camping trips in the forest or to outdoor education centers like Buffalo Cove.
When children understand the connections between the species around them, they begin to have a more complete understanding of their relationship to nature and their place in it. Whether through the simple act of recycling or composting or through the in-depth study of ecosystems and ecology, Mountain Sun students recognize the complex network of relationships and consequences that make up the natural world.
We value the power of growth in the outdoors, from the personal and group transformations that are possible in the woods to understanding of how seeds emerge. We have spaces on campus to introduce students to the fundamentals of gardening, and our older students explore the principles of permaculture through partnerships with local farms and homesteads including Eight Owls Farmstead.